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Capturing Methane From Wastewater in Developing Countries


  • Limited capacity prevents developing countries from capturing methane from wastewater.
  • Abt helps build capacity by developing tools and supporting technical exchanges.
  • Stakeholders are better equipped to capture and use methane from wastewater.
The Challenge

Municipal wastewater accounts for a substantial amount of methane emissions worldwide. Capturing and using methane from wastewater systems can help mitigate climate change and provide a source of local clean energy. However, cities in developing countries often lack the technical capacity, financial resources and technologies to implement methane capture projects.

The Approach

Abt Global has been helping the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) build the capacity of developing countries to capture and use methane from wastewater. Abt supports EPA and the GMI efforts to identify technical, financing and knowledge gaps and address them through various types of technical assistance, information exchanges and tools.

The Results

On behalf of the EPA and GMI, Abt recently:

  • Developed an Anaerobic Digester Screening Tool to quantify emissions and biogas generation potential from municipal wastewater and food waste treatment.
  • Planned and facilitated a study tour for delegates from China to visit advanced wastewater treatment facilities in Southern California and the Mid-Atlantic. As part of the tour, we worked with the China Environment Forum to plan a panel discussion in Washington, DC with tour participants.
  • Planned a panel discussion on best practices for methane recovery from wastewater for the 2018 Global Methane Forum.
  • Conducted a pre-feasibility study of a potential wastewater treatment facility in Chihuahua, Mexico, to evaluate the potential economic viability of a methane recovery component.
  • Managed the research and production of a best practices guide for recovering methane from wastewater in cities in China.